. . . is the title of a propaganda video being shown in some public elementary schools. It bills itself as a general exploration of the many varieties of what a family can consist of—you know, cross-racial couples, adoption and guardianship, families that speak Spanish at home. And of course it goes without saying that gay couples are families too, and anyone who doubts that is on par with people who doubt that cross-racial couples are families. NRO’s Kevin Williamson discovered the video being shown in a town he used to live in and comments:
As a fellow practitioner of the occult arts of persuasion, I must confess my admiration. . . . That’s a Family! is not about tolerance or treating people decently. It is about indoctrination, a fact that its enthusiasts make little attempt to hide. It lists among its endorsers such Democratic worthies as Senator Barbara Boxer, who declares that the film can be used to “break down” attitudes she finds disagreeable. Loret Peterson, a fourth-grade teacher in (of course) San Francisco, wrote that the film provides “a gentle starting point to reach elementary age children with a message of respect for all differences before biases become entrenched and the pressures of middle school set in. . . . We have the opportunity to take an active, moral approach to deflating the power of stereotypes by addressing them in the classroom.”
An active moral approach. I am not at all sure that the government schools are the proper venue for an active moral approach to anything touching fourth-graders and homosexuality. But if children are to have moral instruction in the schools, rather than at home or in the church, then we should probably have a much longer and more detailed conversation than we have thus far about what will be included in that moral curriculum. Is circumspection regarding the situation of a child who identifies four parents consisting of two homosexual couples as his “moms” and “dads” an uncomplicated moral imperative? Hardly. When a child declares, “My two moms are Marilyn and Adrian, and my two dads are Michael and Barry,” that opens up a discussion about which an entire doctoral dissertation in moral theory could be written. Chasnoff and her partisans claim to be driven in part by a desire to prevent bullying, but bullying is precisely what they are engaged in, using the power of the schools to force their political views onto children.
It is interesting to note that the use of the government school monopoly to destroy orthodox Christian commitments (Protestant as well as Catholic!) through the indoctrination of children is nothing new. Horace Mann, the father of the government school monopoly, was a militant Boston unitarian who fiercely hated the traditional Calvinism of the Massachussetts countryside; destroying his state’s Puritan heritage was not his only goal in creating the school monopoly, but it was one important goal. Once the engine of destruction was up and running, Catholics became its target in other parts of the country where Protestant orthodoxy was less contested. Ultimately, however, all orthodox Christianity came under assault. Now the Obama administration is driving to create a national curriculum that will drive schools all the more deeply into the arms of the culture war.
I don’t want schools used as a tool of power on either side of our moral and religious divide. School choice is growing fast, but not nearly fast enough.